Orchid Chemicals & Pharmaceuticals Ltd., ("Orchid"), the Chennai (India) based pharmaceuticals major has announced that it would be undertaking the development and manufacture of an anti-coagulant drug candidate initially discovered and developed through Phase I by Merck & Co., Inc., USA ("Merck"). 

Toward this end, Orchid has invested in Diakron Pharmaceuticals Inc. ("Diakron"), a US based drug discovery and development company which has an exclusive license agreement with Merck for the compound. Orchid's investment in Diakron, through a combination of services and cash, will result in majority control for Orchid.

The compound is a novel investigational oral anticoagulant drug anticipated to have considerable potential. The market for oral anticoagulant products is predicted to grow significantly to USD 5 billion over the next five years. The largest selling oral agent on the market is an old compound with significant drug and patient management issues. Other anticoagulant products are injections which are not optimal for long term, chronic therapy. Orchid and Diakron see considerable potential to further develop the Merck compound as a novel oral anticoagulant and position it uniquely first for the prophylaxis and treatment of deep vein thrombosis in patients undergoing hip and knee replacement and later for chronic use indications.

Commenting on the development, Mr K Raghavendra Rao, Managing Director, Orchid Chemicals & Pharmaceuticals Ltd. stated that Orchid is committed to discover and develop safe and efficacious molecules to cater to the unmet needs. Deep vein thrombosis which affects millions of patients globally and patients who undergo hip and knee replacement in particular is a major condition which requires more patient-friendly medications. Orchid's investment in Diakron and the commitment to develop this Merck discovery are steps in this direction. Orchid is well positioned to undertake the development and commercialization process seamlessly given its state-of-the-art drug discovery and commercial manufacturing capabilities.